Morals and Dogma has been described as "a collection of thirty-two essays which provide a philosophical rationale for the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The lectures provided a backdrop for the degrees by giving lessons in comparative religion, history and philosophy". The original printing had pages of text, while a page Digest-Index was added by Trevanion W. Its thirty-two chapters discuss the philosophical symbolism of a degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in extensive detail.
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In he entered the seminary of Saint Sulpice to study to enter the Roman Catholic priesthood , but he fell in love and left in without being ordained. Contemporaries saw in him the most notorious "disciple" of Lamennais, although the two men do not seem to have established a personal contact. Like many socialists, he propagated socialism as "true Christianity" and denounced the Churches as corruptors of the teachings of Christ. In the course of the s, Constant developed close ties to the Fourierist movement, publishing in Fourierist publications and praising Fourierism as the "true Christianity".
He also turned to the writings of the Catholic traditionalist Joseph de Maistre , whose writings were highly popular in socialist circles. In , he was the leader of an especially notorious Montagnard club known for its radicalism. As his friend Esquiros recounted, their belief in the peaceful realization of a harmonious universal had been shattered.
Similar to many other socialists at the time, Constant saw the emperor as the defender of the people and the restorer of public order. After the disaster of , he was completely convinced that the "masses" were not able to establish a harmonious order and needed instruction a concept similar to other socialist doctrines such as the "revolution from above", the Avantgarde, or the Partei neuen Typs.
He participated on the socialist Revue philosophique et religieuse, founded by his old friend Fauvety, wherein he propagated his "Kabbalistic" ideas, for the first time in public, in notably using his civil name.
The debates in the Revue do not only show the tensions between the old "Romantic Socialism" of the Saint-Simonians and Fourierists, they also demonstrate how natural it was for a socialist writer to discuss topics like magic, the Kabbalah, or the occult sciences in a socialist journal.
Constant used a system of magnetism and dream magic to critique what he saw as the excesses of philosophical materialism. In several passages he explicitly identified socialism, Catholicism, and occultism. That Spiritualism was popular on both sides of the Atlantic from the s contributed to this success.
He incorporated the Tarot cards into his magical system, and as a result the Tarot has been an important part of the paraphernalia of Western magicians. He was also the first to declare that a pentagram or five-pointed star with one point down and two points up represents evil, while a pentagram with one point up and two points down represents good. It has been argued recently, however, that this narrative was constructed at the end of the nineteenth century in occultist circles and was uncritically adopted by later scholarship.
According to this argument, Constant not only developed his "occultism" as a direct consequence of his socialist and neo-catholic ideas, but he continued to propagate the realization of "true socialism" throughout his entire life.
This becomes most obvious in the light of the fact that Papus had tried to contact Constant by mail on 11 January — almost eleven years after his death.
Le Baphomet d’Eliphas Lévi
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